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11 winners, 4 losers, 1 both in Broncos 16-9 win over Houston

There are no doubt issues that need to get solved but all that matters is Russell Wilson and the Broncos got the win.

Houston Texans v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

A win is a win, but that was ugly.

Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos no doubt have some serious issues to solve. But all that matters is Denver found a way to get the 16-9 win over the Houston Texans.

And the Broncos (1-1) getting to work through those problems getting a win over Houston (0-1-1) beats doing so on another tough loss.

Per the usual, I’m bound to forget someone, leave them off or put them in the wrong category, so please mention them in the comments.


Courtland Sutton

The Denver receiver had himself a day. Sutton finished with a game-high seven catches for another game-high 122 yards. When the Broncos needed a big play, Sutton was the guy. Hopefully, he’s able to get in the end zone.

Russell Wilson

Wilson and the Denver offense didn’t look good through most of the game, but Wilson delivered his first “game-winning drive” for the Broncos. His 22-yard touchdown to Eric Saubert early in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty. Wilson finished 14 of 31 passing for 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Here’s hoping Wilson and the offense can build off of this and get some confidence. Wilson also gets his first win as a member of the Broncos.

Eric Saubert

Denver’s tight end had only one catch but he made the most of it. You make the winners list when you get the lone touchdown in the game.

Javonte Williams

Man, it is so fun to watch Pookie carry the rock. Eventually, he’s going to break one loose. Williams led the Broncos with 15 carries for 75 yards and an average of 5 yards per carry. He also had one catch for 10 yards.

Melvin Gordon

Gordon averaged nearly 5 yards per rush on his 10 carries for 47 yards. As a team, the Broncos finished with 31 carries for 149 yards and 4.8 yards per rush. Honorable mention to the Denver offensive line, but Williams and Gordon fought off defenders at the line of scrimmage a lot on Sunday.

Randy Gregory

Gregory made some big-time plays for the Broncos defense. And when Denver needed someone to step up and make a play, Gregory was there to deliver. He finished with 3 tackles (2 solo), three QB hits, 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss.

Caden Sterns

Stepping in for the leader on defense and one of the best safeties in the NFL is a monumental ask. But Sterns did really well in a difficult spot. He led the Broncos in tackles with 6 (5 solo).

Dre’Mont Jones

Opposing teams would do well not to forget about Dre. Sorry, I had to do it. Push from the defensive line is key for the defense’s success and Jones did his part on Sunday. He tied with Stearns for the team-high in tackles with 6 (4 solo), 2 sacks, 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB hit.

Damarri Mathis

Mathis saw more action at defensive back since Pat Surtain II got a shoulder injury. All Mathis did was record 5 tackles and one pass defended.

The Broncos defense

Any time you hold an NFL offense to 9 points, you make the list.

Broncos Country

Mile High Salute to the fans for helping Wilson and the Broncos offense know the time on the play clock. While perhaps a sarcastic chant, it seemed to help. That doesn’t exactly speak to great clock and game management.


Nathaniel Hackett

Anytime a head coach gets his first NFL win, I simply cannot put him on the game's “loser” list. However, Hackett gets a both for Sunday. The clock and game management were an absolute embarrassment. And we thought Vic Fangio was bad.

The sequence in the middle of the third quarter highlights all of this.

Hackett calls a handoff on third-and-1 from the Houston 35 ... to tight end Andrew Beck. The play loses a yard.

Then, Hackett initially decides to go for it on fourth-and-2, but second guesses himself and sends out the field goal unit. Only he waited too long, and, since he likely didn’t want to use his second time out, he took a delay of game penalty.

That’s a master class in circus-level clock and game management.

Not to mention the 13 Denver penalties.

The good news is the Broncos won.


Clock and game management

Hackett and Wilson take the brunt of this, but this comedy of errors falls on the entire team. Through two weeks, the Broncos still don’t look prepared.


This too falls on coaching. The 25 penalties through two games is the most in franchise history to start the season. This must improve. Against better teams, Denver cannot commit penalties that push the offense back or give first downs to the opposing offense.

Red zone and third-down offense

The red zone continues to be a problem. Against Houston, Wilson and the Broncos were again 0-for, this time 0-for-2. Denver is now 0-for-6 in the red zone through the first two games.

On third down, the Broncos were 3 of 12.

The Loss Vegas Raiders

There isn’t a better way to cap off a Denver win than with an epic Raiders loss. Josh McDaniels and Loss Vegas were up 20 points over the Arizona Cardinals and lost. LOLRaiders.